The evolution of wireless technology has changed our lives. Be it checking the latest Instagram updates, tracking locations, or streaming music from a portable speaker when showering—the connectivity of our devices is what keeps us functioning at a more modern pace. But choosing and knowing which protocols work best with a product isn’t so easy. The technical jargon alone can leave you befuddled. So to clear things up, we streamlined the most popular wireless protocols out there:

Wi-Fi: A wireless network featuring a radio frequency signal to connect devices

Bluetooth: A radio signal engineered to interconnect devices and exchange data

AirPlay: Apple’s proprietary protocol suite for allowing wireless streaming

NFC: Short-range wireless technology using electromagnetic radio fields for connection

GPS: Satellite-based navigation system made for determining locations

Miracast: A wireless display standard for broadcasting content onto a TV 

Got it? Good. Now that we’re past our crash course in wireless tech, why not also get familiar with some of the hottest items utilizing these platforms today. From futuristic wearables to smart-home speakers, these are the quintessential gadgets to help guide your wireless experience moving forward.